When the weather begins to cool off in the autumn, you may not feel ready for the upcoming winter weather. But wise homeowners know there are measures you can take now; to be sure your home will be ready for the winter. Consider having your annual furnace inspection now, so you can be confident your critical HVAC systems are safe and prepared for the winter months. Here are some reasons you should get it done now:
Ensure It Works
When you have your annual HVAC inspection, the technician will examine every part of your critical HVAC systems. They will check the furnace to ensure it turns on without issue. They’ll inspect the ducts and the vents. Although you won’t likely need to use your air conditioner for much longer, they’ll look at that, too.
All your HVAC systems are included in an annual HVAC inspection. The technician will ensure it’s in efficient working order and look for any safety hazards. They’ll let you know about any repairs you need to make.
After your HVAC inspection, your technician will give you a written report of your findings. They may make recommendations about the system. By following the technician’s advice, you can feel reassurance about the safety and comfort of your home. This yearly inspection should be an essential component of your HVAC maintenance.
Catch Any Repairs
When the HVAC technician gives you their recommendations, some of the recommendations may report that some of your system’s components are too old. When parts of your HVAC system get older, they can begin to limit the amount of heat or cooling the system delivers. Your inspector may find something simple to correct, like dirt that can easily be cleared from the components or the vents.
One of the most common problems HVAC technicians find is a furnace problem, like a furnace leak. If you see a leak from the furnace, you may not know what type of fluid it could be. If it’s a refrigerant leak, you should never attempt to repair it alone. The technician may also find a loose part in your system (which you might have heard as a shaky noise.)
To have your furnace inspected, you can find a qualified inspector at your local HVAC repair company. A local company would be a good choice since they could repair any problems. If your furnace is old, you’ll want to replace it before winter. Everyone’s comfort will depend on your home’s critical HVAC systems.
Keep Your Family Safe
One of the components of your critical HVAC systems is called the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger acts as a bridge between the heating elements of your furnace and the air that your family breathes. The heat exchanger has a hole at its top and another hole at its bottom. When the burners of the furnaces make heat, they release gases.
After the gases are released, they flow into the hole in the bottom of the heat exchanger. At the same time as the heated gases enter the heat exchanger, an air blower sends room-temperature air across the top of the heat exchanger. The gases inside the exchanger will heat the air at the top of the heat exchanger, delivering warm air throughout the home.
Those gases include carbon monoxide, so if your heat exchanger is not working correctly, your family could be at risk of breathing in carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide has no odor, and if a person breathes it in, they can become very ill. Carbon monoxide is potentially fatal. So, if the HVAC inspector finds your heat exchanger is faulty, you’ll need heating repair services as soon as possible.
Keep the Warranty Valid
When you bought your home, you acquired a home warranty. The warranty is intended to pay for damages to the systems that keep your home safe. Part of your responsibility as a homeowner is to perform routine HVAC ‘maintenance. When an inspection detects you have maintained the equipment well, the warranty will cover the cost of damage to the parts of those systems.
For example, you must replace your air filters regularly. Keeping your motor lubricated and cleaning the coils is also part of your maintenance efforts. Your annual HVAC inspection is part of your HVAC maintenance. If the warranty company detects neglect to these tasks, the warranty company can deny you payment for your damages.
One of the essential parts of your HVAC inspection is to check your boiler. When the inspector checks the boiler, they will typically perform a hydro test. This test will measure the boiler’s capacity. (1) By performing boiler maintenance services you’ll be less likely to have a boiler problem.
Suppose your HVAC system has been showing signs of age. In that case, an inspection can help you decide if a repair will improve your performance enough to make your system usable. The inspector can let you know if you need to replace your critical HVAC systems. If you have a gas furnace, and the flames are smaller and weaker than before, the unit may be working less efficiently.
When a gas furnace is working efficiently, the flames are typically blue. Furnace flames that are orange or yellow indicate that your system isn’t turning all the fuel into heat. If you see flames like that, it means your system is unintentionally wasting fuel.
A good quality furnace is expected to last up to 20 years. However, an HVAC inspector may determine that the damage to your system is too severe for a quick adjustment. If so, you must find an HVAC contractor who specializes in providing a furnace install and repair.
Get Lower Heating Costs
An HVAC inspector will perform tasks intended to discover any problems with your critical HVAC systems. Although a standard furnace inspection costs $80 to $100, an advanced furnace repair could cost up to $200 (2). An inspection can find minor issues that can easily be repaired at the time of the inspection. Those small issues could prevent you from spending much more on an extensive repair- or a new furnace – in the future.
When an HVAC technician performs your inspection, they clean your burners and check them to be sure the furnace works as soon as you turn it on. An obstruction in your heating vent could block the flow of exhaust gases. When the gases are blocked, your system must work harder. The harder your system works; the higher your heating bills will be.
The most important diagnostic procedure done by the inspector is to analyze the combustion gases and determine if the furnace’s ventilation is adequate. The heating company sending the technician for your inspection provides extensive training to their inspectors. They will be instructed in performing inspection techniques like the ones above. They are also trained to do any necessary on-the-spot repairs.
Maintain HVAC Drainage
Your HVAC system and your plumbing system meet at the HVAC drainage line. If you have a problem with your plumbing system, it will block the drainage from your HVAC drainage line. If the moisture from the heating process can’t exit at the drainage line, it can begin to drip through your ceiling. When there is leakage through your ceiling, it will cause water damage and could require extensive repair.
If a high-efficiency furnace is part of your critical HVAC systems, these appliances have an additional heat exchanger. The second heat exchanger creates additional heat by using the water vapor present in the furnace exhaust. This water becomes condensed and will flow through a tube and drain outside the home. If there is a clog in the HVAC system, the high-efficiency furnace will detect it and shut the system down to maintain safety.
These potential problems with HVAC drainage are an excellent reason to also get a plumbing system inspection during this time of year. Contact a local plumbing company to perform a fall plumbing inspection. A plumbing inspection can find issues that could lead to frozen pipes or other problems. Proactive maintenance like these inspections will ensure your family remains safe.
Prevent Fire Hazards
Keeping up with your HVAC maintenance will typically prevent fire hazards that may arise from a faulty HVAC system. One of the most common fire hazards to your critical HVAC systems is a loose connection in the electrical elements of the system. The normal vibration of your HVAC system can knock the wires loose. If the exposed wire touches grounded metal, it can cause a short circuit – and a fire.
Another easy way to prevent a fire related to the HVAC system is to be sure there are no flammable materials stored near the furnace. Since the heating units of the furnace generate heat, it can ignite any combustible material. Keeping the furnace area clear of flammable materials is one of the most manageable HVAC maintenance tasks.
Other causes of furnace fires include clogged air filters, so if you’re changing your air filter regularly, this shouldn’t be a concern. However, the inspector may discover a clog and let you know you may have forgotten to change the filter. If your air filter can’t allow cool air through because it’s clogged, the blower motor must work harder. Harder work for that motor means it could catch on fire.
As previously mentioned, winter temperatures and snow will be here soon. The increased demand for cold weather is why you should get your inspection now rather than wait until that extra demand causes a preventable problem. It’s like going to your doctor for an annual physical exam when you’re not sick. That physical exam can point out ways you can help keep yourself healthy – just as the HVAC inspection can point out things to do to help you keep your home heated and comfortable.
According to Angi.com, the national average cost for an HVAC repair is about $75 for a minor repair. However, the typical prices range from $180 – $580, with the average being $380. In extreme cases, an extensive repair could cost up to $3000. (3) Avoiding these prices to pay for heating repair services should be a good enough reason to have an inspection done.
The costs of your HVAC repairs can vary, depending on the age of your system. If your furnace is the only part that needs repair, that will cost less than a system overhaul. If you request duct or ventilation cleaning services with your inspection, that will cost an additional fee. Ask the technician if their charges are hourly or by a flat inspection rate – so you’ll know in advance how much you will be paying.
Increase Its Longevity
Your annual HVAC inspection will help your system to stay working as long as possible. While a furnace can last up to 20 years with good maintenance, your complete HVAC system has a life span of 15 to 20 years. (4) All the previous maintenance tasks mentioned will assist you in extending the life of your system.
Another simple preventative measure you can take to prolong the life of your HVAC system is to use the ‘auto’ setting of your HVAC system. There are typically two fan settings of an HVAC system: ‘on’ and ‘auto.’ When you use the ‘auto’ system, your HVAC will only run when the system is actively heating or cooling your home. The ‘on’ system would allow the system to work all the time – even when you and your family are not home.
Using the ‘on’ setting also causes your system to collect more dust and dirt. If you or a family member have allergies, that extra dust and dirt could make it more difficult for them to breathe. Another part of your system to check is your condenser. The condenser is a large unit outside your home, and you can check it for a buildup of leaves or debris – and damage, after a storm.
HVAC maintenance does take some work, but it’s part of your responsibility as a homeowner. Once you make yourself a checklist and regularly maintain it, it will become a habit. Having necessary repairs done by an HVAC or heating contractor will also become a habit. You’ll know you’re doing your best to care for your family’s comfort and safety.